Twitter Inc. is the federal government

This is adapted and expanded from a Twitter rant.

Twitter Inc. is the federal government and third-party developers are state and local government. Individual apps represent industries, and Twitter users function as regular citizens who vote, work, and live within the system. Allow me to elaborate.

Twitter Inc. originally provided a framework for the third parties to build on, but left them autonomous in many regards. They could make their design their apps however they wanted. They could decide which features they wanted to support and which ones they didn’t. If their apps were useful to a large number of people, the developers could sell them and make a living.

However, in recent years, Twitter Inc has continued to remove more and more authority from developers, increasing regulation of apps. They’ve decreed that third-party Twitter apps must support specific features. They’ve ordered developers to make their apps look alike, even dictating the placement of profile photos, timestamps, and other metadata.

Perhaps most egregiously, they’ve told app developers that anyone making a new app for viewing a Twitter timeline can only have 20,000 users. After the 20,000th user has logged into a specific app, Twitter will block additional people from using it.

With these API token limits, Twitter Inc. effectively told third parties to take a hike. “Sure, you CAN do great things, but we’ll limit your profit.” These new regulations stifle third-party app development. With so much regulation on how apps can look and function, and how many users they can support, developers no longer care to put in the work to create great software. Why bother when you’ll be limited to such a small user base, thereby limiting the number of copies of your app you can sell and the money you can make from your work?

If Twitter Inc. started deregulating third-party apps at the federal level, developers would be free to institute design choices and features catering to the unique needs of their apps and users.

As the apps become better and increase their user base (here an analog for employment) more people benefit from the overall Twitter service.  Twitter Inc. can’t possibly be responsible for maintaining the well-being of every single app. Developers and their users (“employees” who “vote” by purchasing apps) can work together to determine what works best & improve the service for everyone.

People want different things from the Twitter service (the overall system of government that we all live within). App developers (state and local government) can help meet the needs of specific groups with more care and precision by implementing policies (features and design choices) that benefit their applications (industries and businesses) than Twitter Inc. (the federal government), which forces a one-fit solution on everyone whether it benefits them or harms them.

Apple announces nothing

we have nothing

Apple CEO Tim Cook excitedly took the stage today during a special media event to announce that the Cupertino-based tech giant has nothing left to announce.

“We are completely out of ideas,” the executive told the gathered crowd of developers and press, before launching into a breakdown of the company’s year so far. Here are Apple’s 2014 stats according to Cook:

  • ZERO – The number of new products released to the public so far this year
  • ZERO – The number of new product categories Apple has entered so far this year

Cook then turned over the stage to SVP of Software Engineering Craig Federighi, who detailed the company’s latest public software releases. “We haven’t actually released any new software this year,” Federighi noted. “And now,” he added, “I’d like to take a few minutes to talk to you about hair care products.”

Federighi was careful to point out that hair care products are just one of his many passions and that Apple was in no way planning on making the jump to that “new product category.”

After Federighi gave the crowd a look at his top 10 styling tips, Cook once again came on stage to introduce Phil Schiller, Apple’s marketing chief.

“I want to start today by going back to something I said last year. It turns we actually can’t innovate anymore.” Schiller then showed off Apple’s newest iPhone ad, which explains all of the ways Ludwing van Beethoven could have used an iPhone 5s if the device had existed in his lifetime.

Following the video, Schiller explained the reasoning behind it: “Here at Apple, we believe that our products are truly life-changing. We want everyone to know how minimally-famous people can use iPhone to accomplish things that most smartphone customers would never have a need for. And this ad continues that theme by demonstrating the powerful ways an 18th-century composer could have used iPhone.”

Finally, Cook came back on stage to close out the event. “We at Apple are so excited to be introducing nothing to you today. Our employees have put so much work into nothing for the past six months, and we can’t wait for you to try it out.”

The CEO then announced that nothing would be available on July 28th for only $899.

Philip Baxter, a college student who was the first one in line for the iPhone 5s launch at his local Apple Store, said of the event, “That was really a game-changing announcement. I can’t wait for the launch next month. I’m already making plans to camp out at the Apple Store for nothing.”

Let’s talk about those OS X Yosemite app icons

I’m not going to bother explaining what OS X Yosemite is outside of linking to this page. Now, let’s talk about the redesigned app icons. Some are OK. Some are not. I’m going to explain what I don’t like about the bad ones and why I like the not-so-bad ones.

I’m not going to talk about stuff like the share icon (which is better than iOS 7’s but still really bad) or any other buttons and glyphs. Just app icons. I won’t even discuss all of the icons, just the ones that have actually been changed in Yosemite beta 1 (which does not include iTunes).

Each icon will be listed below with the old and new versions. You can roll over each icon to see which version it is, but it should be pretty obvious without that.

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Small town left reeling following horrific discovery at local home

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Residents in the tiny town of Butler, Oklahoma were shocked Monday night when thirty one-year-old Jake Wallace was arrested. Police say they were called to the house after two of Wallace’s friends made a shocking discovery in his kitchen.

Wallace was holding a small party with some friends in his home to celebrate the long President’s Day weekend when police say things got out of hand.

Chris Peterson, 32, entered Wallace’s kitchen to refill his drink. That’s when he says he was “sickened” by what he found. “I couldn’t believe what I had discovered,” he told reporters. “It was horrible. I’ve never seen anything like that. I just had to get out of there.”

Peterson fled the scene, but not before telling his brother, Alex, what he had seen. It was Alex who called police before leaving the party with Chris. Alex later told a neighbor that what he had seen was “so messed up that he couldn’t even think about it.”

What police found when they arrived was beyond anything they had ever seen, according to police commissioner Ralph King. In a statement given to the press outside of Wallace’s home, King said, “In the past we’ve dealt with a few nutjobs that got a carried away, but this is something on a whole different level.”

According the police report, officers on the scene discovered that the pizza Wallace had served his guests was in fact DiGiorno, not delivery, as they had been lead to believe.

News of the incident traveled quickly in the small town, which has a population of less than 300.

“What kind of sick, twisted individual does it take to let people eat something frozen and tell them it came from a pizza shop?” asked neighbor Doug Stanton.

Others, such as Wallace’s longtime friend Regina Brant, were concerned that he may have tried a similar trick on them. “I ate at his house. I’ve eaten pizza with him. Now who knows what he was feeding me? Could it have been DiGiorno? At this point I think I’d rather not know.”

Robert and Cynthia Wallace, Jake’s parents, were shocked by the news. “He was always so quiet as a child. I never would have believed he was capable of something like this,” his mother told us.

Police are still working through the crime scene, but tell us that so far they have confirmed the presence of at least three DiGiorno pizza boxes. Wallace has been booked on charges of fraud.

Let’s talk about Avengers: Age of Ultron!

The video above is the first teaser for Marvel’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. It was first shown during Comic-Con this year. This teaser, and a few casting announcements, are the only things we know about the upcoming sequel, which started filming this week. But is this enough to draw any real conclusions about the plot of the movie? Maybe. Maybe not. But I’m definitely going to give it a shot.

Obviously, this is all speculation, but I should point out that it’s coming from someone who has never read a single Marvel comic. My knowledge of Marvel’s expansive universe is limited to what’s in the movies and some of what I’ve read on other sites like IGN (along with journeys down the rabbit-hole of Wikipedia when I was really just looking for some basic info).

So, that being said, let’s make some guesses.

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An update on the “Make Mike Update to iOS 7″ charity campaign

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If you have no idea what this post is about, please read this first.

After waiting to ensure that any remaining Indiegogo fees that needed to be refunded had been added to my PayPal account, I headed over to the charity: water website today and contributed my entire PayPal account balance.

I realize the amount listed above is quite a bit lower than what appeared on the Indiegogo funding page. This is because Indiegogo keeps a portion of all funding raised through that service. At first they withhold a higher percentage for some campaigns and refund a portion of that one the campaign is successful. The process can take a few weeks to complete, so I waited several weeks before making the donation to ensure everything was correct. In the event that they refund any additional money to my PayPal account a bit late, I will do a follow-up donation with the rest of the money.

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the campaign. I’d especially like to thank the anonymous donor who used the name Scott Forstall to donate the initial $500. Together we raised exactly $968.13 for to help bring clean water to a community that needs it somewhere halfway across the world.

As for the iOS 7 side of things, I did update my phone as soon as the $500 goal was reached and went an entire week without complaining about the horrible design issues that plague the OS when we hit the $1,000 mark.

A crazy thing happened last night: Why I’m giving up my iPhone jailbreak and updating to iOS 7

This is simultaneously the best and worst decision I have made in recent memory. For those who are unfamiliar with this whole iOS 7 thing, let me start with a little background. Earlier this year Apple introduced a new operating system for the iPhone. It was completely redesigned and looked nothing like the old version. I loved the old version, and I hate the new version.

Many people who updated their phones tried to convince me to do so as well. Even a coworker who previously hated iOS 7 as much as I do finally upgraded and decided that he really liked it. Despite the constant nagging, I declared numerous times that I would not update to iOS 7. So why have I suddenly changed course? Well, a crazy thing happened last night…

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Comcast subscribers in New York shocked as hijacked HBO feed airs inoffensive content

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HBO’s Facebook page was flooded with comments from hundreds of New Yorkers shocked by what was appearing on their televisions late last night. During a Game of Thrones re-run, hackers managed to break into Comcast’s feed of the premium cable network and insert fifteen seconds of inoffensive content into the middle of the episode.

Viewers were caught off-guard by an uninterrupted quarter-minute of the kid-friendly cartoon Dora the Explorer. Tweets and comments immediately began appearing on HBO’s Twitter feed and Facebook page, as well as the official Game of Thrones social media accounts. “How dare HBO let this come into my house?” wrote one Facebook user, “I am canceling my subscription immediately. This is not what I paid for.”

Comcast confirmed that the unauthorized content originated somewhere in their network, but they have not yet tracked down the entry point or perpetrator. The company issued the following statement on Facebook and via email to affected subscribers a few hours after the interruption:

Valued Comcast Customer,

On the evening of Saturday, November 30th, a third-party maliciously gained access to Comcast’s internal network and aired fifteen seconds of unauthorized programming on HBO. It is our understanding that the content aired lacked the gratuitous nudity and profanity expected by our HBO subscribers. We would like to offer our sincerest apologies to those affected by this interruption of service.

We are working with the authorities to determine how this attack was carried out and how best to prevent such incidents from occurring in the future.

The hacker who pulled off the attack has already stepped forward, in a way. An anonymous Twitter account, @comcast_ny_pwn, tweeted two days before the attack: “comcast in new york is ours. #gameofpwns”. The tweet was deleted following Comcast’s statement, but not before a few Twitter users captured screenshots of the tweet.

tweet

We reached out to @comcast_ny_pwn via Twitter, and he emailed us a very short statement on the condition of anonymity:

regarding the comcast hack i dont want to go into too much details since that could compromise my identity but i will say it was def much easier than i expected.

He later followed up with an additional note stating that the unauthorized broadcast did not last fifteen seconds, but was actually just under twenty minutes. However, because the first nineteen minutes of the broadcast consisted of nothing but porn clips he pulled from the Internet, no one actually noticed that it was not Game of Thrones until the stream switched over to Dora.

Comcast representatives declined to comment.

Here’s what I thought iOS 7 might look like before it was officially announced

 

ios7mockups

Back in May, when Mark Gurman published his infamous article that (accurately) described the then-upcoming design changes in iOS 7, I had an idea of what I thought iOS 7 would look like. Based on certain parts of the article, I came up with a general idea of what the operating system might look like. I was actually pretty close, but also pretty far off.

I got bored and mocked up a few of the designs tonight. The ideas are based on the following selection from the article:

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Mac users outraged as OS X Mavericks update removes the ability to set a custom homepage in Safari

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Users of Apple’s OS X operating system were in for a bit of a surprise this morning when the Cupertino-based company released an update for its latest Mac software, OS X Mavericks.

Many Mac owners installed the update believing that it would bring faster loading times and better support for new web standards, but were disappointed to learn that only a small percentage of users would see a marginal improvement in performance on a handful of websites.

One change that did affect all users, however, was the removal of the option to set a custom homepage. Instead of allowing users to pick a website to load automatically when starting the browser, all new pages load the Apple Online Store.

Since the Safari update, the Apple Online Store has seen a flood of traffic that crippled the site for hours. Eventually Apple pulled the store offline for upgrades, though Apple’s PR has been insistent that the site never “crashed.”

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Apple CEO Tim Cook quickly addressed the issue on his new Twitter account, telling users that “if you like your current homepage, you can keep it. Period.”

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Cook’s tweet was met with responses from countless users who wrote that they could no longer set a new homepage through Safari’s preferences screen. Cook later responded to these messages with another tweet.

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Apple PR has informed us that there are currently no plans to reverse the decision. Instead, we were supplied with a list of reasons users will love having the Apple Online Store as their homepage. Some of these reasons include…

  • Easy access to Apple’s entire product catalog
  • No need to sift through every page on the Internet to choose the homepage that’s right for you
  • If Apple controls your homepage, they can update it to anything they want at any time

We asked a group of ten Mac users what they thought of the change. Two college students replied that they were upset with the change, but the eight other members of our group quickly spoke up in favor of it.

“I think it’s homophobic to say that Tim Cook made a bad decision,” said one student. “Yeah, you guys are just upset with his policy because he might be gay,” another chimed in. The two students who had spoken out against the decision tried to reassert their points but were shouted down by cries of “hate” and “intolerance” from the others.

“Besides,” one of the girls in the back row said, “if your homepage isn’t the Apple Store, how are you supposed to buy Apple products? If we don’t force people to use this as their homepage, those people will not buy Apple products. Everyone should have access to Apple products.”

One of the students against the change pointed out that not everyone wants to own Apple products, and that those who do are still able to buy them without using the store as their homepage. His point was quickly refuted by other members of the group who insisted that they know better than anyone else which products people should buy.